Flights Of Fantasy

[ M Panging Pao ]

Rs 578 crore deficit annual budget for 2021-22 for Arunachal Pradesh was presented on 3 March, 2021. The projected total receipts for 2021-22 is Rs 22,581 crore as against the total receipt of Rs 22,000 crore in the revised estimates of 2020-21. The state share of central taxes has been pegged at Rs 11,694 crore as per the Union Budget 2020-21, and the state’s own tax revenue is projected as Rs 1,900 crore. The non-tax revenue projection for 2021-22 is Rs 850 crore.

This budget focuses on the Year of Education. More focus on ‘Mission shiksha’ with an all-encompassing strategy to transform education in the next two years. Good points include starting of early childhood care and education centres in 300 schools across the state, operationalizing the Arunachal University in Pasighat, operationalizing the State Engineering College in Toru, 10 new Eklavya Model Residential Schools, allotments for promotion of tribal languages, and setting up of an NCC academy in Arunachal.

In the health sector, good initiatives are continuation of the CM Chemotherapy Scheme, the Renal Care Fund, the CMAAY, etc. The other good initiatives are establishment of 200-bedded hospital under RK Mission Hospital, upgrading Bakin Pertin General Hospital in Pasighat to a 300-bedded hospital, and upgrading of district hospitals.

Good proposals in the infrastructure sector include construction of outdoor stadiums in Chimpu, Tezu and Aalo, heliports in Ziro, Daporijo, Itanagar, Naharlagun and Walong, construction of the civil terminal building in Mechuka, reactivation of the Anini ALG, construction of new ALG in Dirang, etc.

With frequent cases of fire incidents, good proposals include establishment of new fire stations in the state. Another good proposal is to provide 4G mobile connectivity to 1,683 villages that are remotely located by 2022 under the Comprehensive Telecom Development Plan.

In the industries sector, good proposals include continuation of the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Swavalamban Yojana, the Start Up seed fund and the decision to launch the Arunachal Pradesh Start-Up Policy, 2021. One visionary step is the passing of the Arunachal Ease of Doing Business Bill, 2021 by the Arunachal assembly. This proposal to launch a truly single-window clearance system for setting up industries will go a long way in attracting investors and industries to the state.

There are good proposals in the agri-horti sector, additional allotments for pig development, fisheries and milk sectors and rural development. Similar to the recent Chinese policy towards strengthening the border areas, three model villages in the border areas are to be developed on a pilot basis.

The budget misses include lack of stimulus on skill development. Skilling our youths and unemployed could generate more jobs inside and outside the state. Another step could have been adoption of a ‘Vocal for local’ bill by the state to promote and support local industries and the agri-horti farmers.

The budget allocates funds to various departments and schemes. The challenge lies in implementing the budgetary proposals in letter and spirit. Overall, the budget appears to be positive and progressive. Now that the MLALADS has also been hiked, we hope to see more development and progress in the state. (The contributor is retired Group Captain, Indian Air Force)